At the opening of a three day judicial retreat yesterday in Gbarnga, Bong County, Chief Justice Francis S. Korkpor instructed judges to fear nothing and favor none regardless of what or who is involved as far as the dispensation of justice was concerned.
“Ours is an onerous responsibility. Come what may, we must remain strong and committed to safeguard our nation, and to protect the aggrieved party litigants, who come to us seeking justice. We cannot afford to falter or fail, because the failure of a judiciary can produce a chilling and calamitous effect on a nation,” justice Korkpor said in a strongly-worded statement opening the judiciary retreat yesterday.
The retreat was held under the theme: “Strengthening the Rule of Law through Enhanced Judicial Performance.”
“We are quite aware that in order to avoid recourse to dissent and rebellion as experienced in our recent past, the rule of law must be based on the principle of justice where freedom of the individual is guaranteed under the law,” the Chief Justice reminded judges.
The rule of law, he said, must provide a framework for the exercise of free choice and equal opportunity, “this in turn will give rise to the growth and development of a peaceful nation.
“So, we the judiciary must always remain focused, be on top of our game, and be fair in our judicial actions and decisions. We must fear nothing and favor none regardless of what or who is involved” Korkpor admonished.
He pointed out that it is important that judges abstain from all political frays and alignments at all times, especially during the election year in order to remain above reproach and uphold independence and neutrality.
“It is important that by our judicial actions and decisions, we create an enabling environment for free and fair conduct of elections,” he added.
Justice Korkpor maintained that “many Liberians and foreign nationals within our borders are looking up to the judiciary as the rampart on which they can climb and seek refuge from within when in distress from unlawful intruders and violators of their rights.”
Korkpor believes that is a good sign since it clearly indicates that the people are regaining trust and confidence in the judicial system as a forum to impartially adjudicate disputes.
Instead of taking the law into their own hands, Korkpor said, “it is better for the people to seek redress through the courts.”
Yesterday’s opening ceremony brought together magistrates and judges that are assigned at the various courts across the country.
Some of them spoke about the constraints they face while dispensing justice, especially the interference of lawmakers into judicial matters in their respective constituencies.